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RE: product liability (was 'we should all be uncomfortable with the extent to which luck..')

  • From: Chance Whaley
  • Date: Wed Jul 25 19:27:11 2001

My fault for not making a distinction between the ATC issues and
healthcare issues. The developers of ATC software are granted indemnity
in the US. Jeppeson falls under this except for cases of: 'Gross
Negligence', 'Malicious Intent', and a few others. Otherwise no
development house in the world would touch the systems. See any aviation
software boilerplate, and the last paragraph in my email here.

As for healthcare issues - I was making statement to software developed
on MS platforms (and there are quite a few). From the license on _every_
piece of MS software:

High Risk Activities. The Software is not fault-tolerant and is not
designed or intended for use in hazardous environments requiring
fail-safe performance, including without limitation, in the operation of
nuclear facilities, aircraft navigation or communication systems, air
traffic control, weapons systems, direct life-support machines, or any
other application in which the failure of the Software could lead
directly to death, personal injury, or severe physical or property
damage (collectively, "High Risk Activities"). Microsoft expressly
disclaims any express or implied warranty of fitness for High Risk

MS encourages all of its developers to use its standard boilerplate.
Specific contracts are made for healthcare software and their buyers -
it typically includes "Limits of Liability". Please don't quote decades
old cases, as they were the impetus for the changes in software
liability law.

First action for any attorney in a tort case is "sue everyone even
remotely connected with anything to do with anything". Courts have a
tendency to throw these things out now. Do we not remember the cases
against Chrysler and AC/Delco for the "software" in their cruise-control
being incorrect a few years ago. People sued Chrysler, Chrysler sued
AC/Delco. Attorneys vs. Chrysler got heard (and settled out of court).
Chrysler vs. AC/Delco got thrown out.


> -----Original Message-----
> From: Dan Hollis []
> Sent: Wednesday, July 25, 2001 4:51 PM
> To: Chance Whaley
> Cc: 'Gary E. Miller'; 'Joseph T. Klein';
> Subject: RE: product liability (was 'we should all be
> uncomfortable with
> the extent to which luck..')
> On Wed, 25 Jul 2001, Chance Whaley wrote:
> > Software programmers arent sued when monitoring machines in
> hospitals
> > fail.
> Individual programmers might not be sued, but companies have
> been sued,
> successfully.
> In the late 1980s there was a string of radiation machine
> failures due to
> software bugs which ended up killing patients.
> IIRC when the families of the victims sued, the software
> company chose to
> settle out of court rather than go to trial.
> > Look up the work indemnity. There is a reason why it is in most
> > boilerplate. In the mean time, I would suggest that people
> who have no
> > concept of the legal system refrain from comment about any
> of this. The
> > concept of this entire thread is nothing more than mental
> masturbation.
> The facts prove you wrong.
> -Dan
> --
> [-] Omae no subete no kichi wa ore no mono da. [-]

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